Angus Young (65) is perhaps the epitome of inner greatness. The slender AC / DC guitarist measures 1.57 meters and does not otherwise appear as if he could lift the world off its hinges. If he sits in interviews, peaceful and constantly smoking, and answers laconically questions, Young would not be associated with the lead guitarist of one of the most successful live live bands. Outside of music, he prefers to paint landscapes in his second home in Aalten, the Netherlands.
But if you put an electric guitar in his hand, he mutates into a long-serving man, to the perpetual motion of rock music. "Angus Young is Clark fucking Kent," singer Brian Johnson (72) told American Rolling Stone in 2008. "He goes into a phone booth – and comes out as a 14-year-old little devil who just wants to rock unchecked."
With AC / DC in the Rock Olympus
On March 31, 1955, Angus McKinnon Young was born in Cranhill near Glasgow, Scotland, and a short time later he emigrated to Australia with his family. Together with his brother Malcolm (1953-2017), he put together the band AC / DC at the beginning of the seventies and played in smaller local clubs. The idea for the band name comes from the sewing machine of Angus' and Malcolm's sister Margaret. There was "AC / DC" – the abbreviation for alternating current or direct current (alternating current / direct current). The brothers saw the appropriate name for the raw energy and powerful performances of the band.
After replacing their original singer Dave Evans with Bon Scott, the band quickly developed a remarkable fan base in and around Sydney as a new live sensation. A record deal with Atlantic Records and classic albums like "Let There Be Rock" (1977), "Powerage" (1978) or "Highway To Hell" (1979) were the logical consequence. After Bon Scott's death in 1980, AC / DC found a more than worthy successor in Brian Johnson – the first joint album "Back In Black" is their most successful ever and one of the best-selling ever.
Reef machinery from the Young brothers
In addition to the two grater voices by Scott and Johnson, it was of course the driving riffs by rhythm guitarist Malcolm and the biting solo guitar tone by Angus that had shaped the AC / DC sound from the start – or like Slash by Guns N 'Roses once said, "Malcolm and Angus have achieved three chords more than anyone else." "Highway To Hell", "You Shook Me All Night Long" or "Thunderstruck", like pretty much every other song, stem from the minimalist concept of the riffing machinery of the Young brothers, who have made AC / DC legends of rock music. Young himself often downplayed his skills in interviews. "I am not a typical soloist," the lead guitarist once said about his virtuosity. "It's just a color that I add to create excitement."
This tension, which Angus Young had maintained in interaction with his brother Malcolm for decades, was like the energy of a nuclear power plant and the accuracy of an atomic clock. Unfortunately, this rock'n'roll movement suddenly stopped ticking in 2014 – Malcolm had to leave the band because of advanced dementia. He died on November 18, 2017. An enormous stroke of fate for Angus, which should not be his last. In addition to his other brothers, Margaret, the last sibling, also died in November last year.
Duckwalk, striptease and the blues
In the meantime, entire books on Angus Young's optical trademark could be filled. The story of the school uniform, which he takes during an AC / DC show during the obligatory striptease, dates back to his school days. Back then, Angus disappeared into the rehearsal room for jamming right after class. Angus Young copied the characteristic duckwalk from his great idol Chuck Berry. As a rock pioneer, the musician, who died in 2017, must have been the inspirer for the foundation of the hard rock band – the group always saw itself as a "rock'n'roll band".
In his culminating solo show, which for many is the culmination of an AC / DC concert, Angus Young fidgets on the pedestal floor with an erratic twitch, as if current were flowing through his body and he was actually discharging himself. Remarkably, however, his game never suffers from it. Incidentally, the guitarist never touched alcohol or drugs. But behind the whole show, according to Jerry Cantrell from Alice In Chains, is "the real god of the blues guitar". Angus Young is at number 24 on the "Rolling Stone" list of the best guitarists of all time. With his blues-drenched playing and his iconic electric guitar, a mostly red Gibson SG, which has a little bit of devil horns with its recesses Young influenced countless guitarists.
Let There Be Rock
Despite the tragic loss of Malcolm Young and the occasional impending hearing loss of singer Brian Johnson – who had to replace Axl Rose from Guns N 'Roses on the "Rock Or Bust" tour of 2016 – the band was never an option for Angus Young. Maybe also because the gold donkey AC / DC has become too big and valuable to just let it die. Merchandise, advertising revenue, record and ticket sales – the Australian pub troupe has blossomed into a global music brand with one of the largest stage shows in the world. Somehow it has to go on. There is growing evidence that a new AC / DC album will be released in the very near future. Maybe even later this year. And as long as Angus Young's fingers can whiz over the fingerboard of his Gibson, the "Rock'n'Roll Train" will continue to roll.